Dollar Rally Crumbles As Fed Ramps Up Printing Press

We are on the verge of loosing our dollar.  All things are going into place to replace it with somthing like the euro but the amero.

When did the American People become so powerless?

By Oliver Biggadike and Ye Xie

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- The rally that pushed the dollar to the highest levels since 2006 is in danger of crumbling as the Federal Reserve starts buying Treasuries and ramps up its purchases of mortgage debt, adding to a flood of greenbacks.

“The implications of today’s Fed decision are unambiguous,” currency strategists at Citigroup Inc. wrote in a research report within a half hour of the Fed’s decision yesterday. The dollar “should weaken,” they said.

Fed policy makers said yesterday they plan to buy as much as $300 billion of U.S. government bonds and step up purchases of mortgage bonds, expanding the central bank’s balance sheet by as much as $1.15 trillion. The extra supply of dollars threatens to overwhelm investors just as the budget deficit swells.

The trade-weighted Dollar Index, which tracks the currency’s performance against the euro, yen, pound, Canadian dollar, Swiss franc and Swedish krona, tumbled 2.7 percent to 84.595, its biggest one-day drop since 1971. That pushed its decline to 5.6 percent since reaching 89.62 on March 4, the highest in almost four years.

It fell yesterday by the most in nine years versus the euro, to $1.3474, and traded at $1.3631 as of 12:01 p.m. in London. The dollar dropped today against Japan’s currency to a three-week low of 94.72 yen.

“Sell the dollar!” said Scott Ainsbury, a portfolio manager who helps manage about $12 billion in currencies at New York-based hedge fund FX Concepts Inc. “This is huge, huge. It’s equivalent to the Plaza accord. This is the last thing they have in the closet, and they used it a bit early.”

Rally Reversal

In 1985, the U.S., U.K., France, Japan and West Germany agreed at New York’s Plaza Hotel to coordinate the devaluation of the dollar against the yen and the deutsche mark.

The Dollar Index started to slide in 2005 on concern about the widening current-account deficit and reached a record low in the first quarter of 2008 as credit market losses mounted following the crash of the subprime mortgage market.

It then rallied in the second half of last year as the global recession spurred demand for haven assets such as Treasury bills. Rates on bills fell below zero percent in December. UBS AG currency strategist Benedikt Germanier in Stamford, Connecticut, said he is sticking with his forecast for the dollar to trade at $1.30 per euro over the next month.

‘Pretty Big’

Yields on 10-year Treasuries declined the most since 1962 after the Fed said it would concentrate purchases in notes due from two to 10 years. The central bank is expanding its quantitative easing policy, which already includes agency and mortgage debt, to more than $1.85 trillion in securities.

“We’ve been selling dollars and we’re now adding to that short,” said Jim McCormick, Citigroup Inc.’s London-based global head of currencies. “The Fed program announced last night is pretty big both in terms of magnitude and breadth.”

McCormick said the dollar may fall to $1.40 against the euro.

The purchases will bolster concern that inflation will accelerate as borrowing costs fall, said Jessica Hoversen, a foreign exchange analyst with MF Global Ltd. in Chicago.

‘Dollar is Done’

“The Fed is basically financing our deficit by buying the debt issued by the Treasury,” she said. “If the Obama administration pushes through another stimulus package, the dollar is done.”

President Barack Obama is seeking Congressional approval for a $3.55 trillion budget for the year starting in October that would increase spending by 32 percent to kick start the economy. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates the U.S. will almost triple debt sales this fiscal year ending Sept. 30 to a record $2.5 trillion.

The euro will probably rise to $1.3590 in two weeks provided it holds above $1.3330 through March 20, Hoversen predicted. It may rally above $1.39 “sooner than we think,” Citigroup analysts Tom Fitzpatrick in New York and Shyam Devani in London wrote in a research note yesterday.

Trading patterns also suggest the dollar is poised to weaken. Europe’s common currency took 26 days to break through $1.3117 on Dec. 11, before appreciating to the 200-day moving average above $1.47, the Citigroup analysts wrote. Yesterday’s break occurred 27 days after the euro established a resistance level on Feb. 9, suggesting it may “explode” higher, they wrote.

The euro, the Norwegian krone and the Australian dollar will outperform as those nations’ central banks hold out longer against the temptation to print money, said Dale Thomas, head of currencies at Insight Investment Management, which oversees about $121 billion in assets.

‘Timing Difference’

“All the major central banks may end up in the same position,” London-based Thomas said. “The way we look to play it is to see which goes the first and which one lags, and try to explore the timing difference between the two.”

Central banks are grappling with how to steer their economies when interest rates are already close to zero.

The Bank of England is buying government bonds and corporate debt to unlock trading in frozen credit markets and stimulate the economy. The Bank of Japan is snapping up government notes and making subordinated loans to banks, and the Swiss National Bank is selling francs to prevent gains against the euro.

Fed policymakers have committed to buy or lend against everything from corporate debt, mortgages and consumer loans to government bonds as they try to end the seizure in credit markets.

The extra yield relative to benchmark interest rates that investors demand to own debt backed by consumer loans has soared amid concern that defaults will climb.

Bond Spreads Wide

Spreads for top-rated bonds backed by auto loans are trading at about 300 basis points more than the one-month London interbank offered rate compared with 65 basis points in January 2008, JPMorgan Chase & Co. data show. One-month Libor, a borrowing benchmark, is currently 0.55 percent. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

“We cannot rule out that this will place additional pressure on other central banks to follow suit,” wrote David Woo, the global head of foreign-exchange strategy at Barclays Capital in London. “Should this turn out to be the case, deflationary concerns in the market may begin to give way to longer-term worries about monetary inflation.”

Grits4life Grits4life
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Mar 19, 2009